This Week In MMA – April, Week 1

Mandatory Credit: Zuffa LLC & Chris Unger – Zuffa LLC & Lucas Noonan – Bellator MMA

Take a look back on a week in MMA where the majority of the headlines were grabbed by the ongoing dispute between former two-time UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones and the UFC, as well the upcoming return of Nate Diaz in a high-profile, five-round, non-title, co-main event at UFC 262 on May 15th. against surging welterweight, Leon Edwards. Finally sealing its landing pad, a lightweight rubber match between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor is set for UFC 264 on July 10th. to boot. 

Reflecting on his debilitating situation with a positive novel coronavirus test result, welterweight prospect, Khamzat Chimaev revealed that he initially questioned if he had cancer when he began coughing up blood at the beginning of March

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Ahead of his April 17th. boxing matchup against YouTuber, Jake Paul, UFC alum, Ben Askren claimed that he made Jorge Masvidal “famous” after his July 2019 flying knee knockout loss to the Floridian, predicting Kamaru Usman would take home another dominant decision win over the BMF champion on April 24th. at UFC 261.

Finally landing in the UFC after a prolonged period with the Graham Boylan led, Cage Warriors promotion where he was the organization’s undisputed featherweight champion, Paddy Pimblett inked a multi-fight deal — and immediately traded back-and-forths with Georgian lightweight standout, Guram Kutateladze. 

In a series of deleted tweets off the back of UFC 260 last weekend, the above-mentioned, Jon Jones claimed that UFC president, Dana White obviously “hated” him — asking the organization to grant him his release, allowing him to take his business “elsewhere

Despite the ongoing uncertainty regarding his future with the promotion, Jones was issued a warning by recently minted heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou — with the Cameroonian warning Jones to prepare for “the biggest challenge of his life.

Headlining UFC 262 from a sold-out Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas on May 15th. — Michael Chandler predicted a knockout victory over Charles Oliveira to obtain vacant lightweight gold, prior to a possible fall or winter title defence against former two-weight champion, Conor McGregor.

Slated to make his return to the Octagon on April 10th. at UFC on ABC 2, former welterweight title challenger, Darren Till was forced to withdraw from his second consecutive return, with a broken collarbone ruling him from a middleweight main event against the streaking, Marvin Vettori.

Making his first Octagon appearance since a BMF championship clash against Jorge Masvidal in November of 2019, Stockton favourite, Nate Diaz is scheduled to return at UFC 262 against Leon Edwards in the first non-title, five-round, co-main event in promotional antiquity.

Reflecting on his relationship with the aforenoted, White off the back of his middleweight title loss to Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold labelled the longtime promotional leader a “tyrant” who believes “he’s a fighter” — before calling for a governing body to introduced to mixed martial arts

Updating the status of a potential matchup against Ngannou, Jones claimed that he had spoken with the UFC’s Chief Business Officer, Hunter Campbell on the phone, where he informed him that a payday in the region of “eight to ten million” would be “way too low” for a fight with the Cameroonian this summer.

Inking a multi-fight deal with the UFC, Invicta FC standout, Erin Blanchfield is set to make a short-notice debut under the banner at UFC on ABC 2 on April 10th. as she draws former featherweight, Norma Dumont Viana in a bantamweight clash — ahead of a flyweight return.

LFA strawweight champion, Lupita ‘Loopy’ Godinez also penned a contract with the UFC, welcoming former strawweight title challenger, Jessica Penne back to action at UFC Vegas 24 on April 17th.

Replacing the afore-mentioned, Till on just a week’s notice, recent UFC Vegas 22 headliner, Kevin Holland matches with Vettori in a main event tilt, hoping to get back to winning-ways after a one-sided unanimous decision loss to division mainstay, Derek Brunson in March.

Offering his services as a potential backup to Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal II on April 24th. — former interim welterweight champion, Colby Covington maintains he wants to settle his rivalry with former teammate, Masvidal, echoing claims that the Miami native turned down a “seven-figure payday” to coach The Ultimate Fighter 29 against him.

Former UFC, Strikeforce, and Invicta FC champion, Cris Cyborg is slated to attempt the second defence of her Bellator featherweight throne on May 21st. at Bellator 259 — rematching Leslie Smith following a 2016 matchup with the veteran under the UFC’s banner in Curitiba, Brazil — where Cyborg scored a debut knockout win in the opening round. 

Continuing his era of prolonged dominance, two-weight champion, Patricio Pitbull defended his featherweight title with a second career win over Emannuel Sanchez, stopping the challenger with a first-round guillotine — setting up a tournament finale against the surging promotional standout, A.J. McKee. 

Targeted for UFC 264 on July 10th. — a welterweight clash with potential title-implications on the line for the victor, as Gilbert Burns and Stephen Thompson verbally agree in a fan-favourite matchup at 170-pounds.

Officially announced as the opposing coaches of The Ultimate Fighter 29 — featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski will coach opposite challenger, Brian Ortega ahead of a title clash between the two at the season’s finale

Returning to the Octagon for the first time since October last, one-time featherweight title challenger, Chan Sung Jung headlines a UFC Fight Night event in June against heavy-hitting puncher, Dan Ige — who is fresh from a highlight-reel one-punch stoppage of Gavin Tucker last month.

In a potential heavyweight title-eliminator in June, the surging undefeated contender, Ciryl Gane headlines a UFC Fight Night event against kickboxing talent, Alexander Volkov — with the victor primed for a matchup with current champion, Ngannou.

Securing its landing pad at long last, a trilogy rubber match with potential lightweight title-implications for the victor, Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor clash in a five round main event at UFC 264 on July 10th. 


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